KARACHI: Already under criticism for controlling the major institutions which are directly connected with the city affairs and should be under the local government’s management, the Sindh government of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) faces another challenge after it has been failing to pay salaries and pensions to hundreds of Karachi Development Authority (KDA) employees for last three months without sharing any reason behind the move, officials and sources said.
The situation, they said, had started turning from bad to worse and many of the KDA workers had lost hope to receive any “good news” from the authorities concerned amid “detached attitude” of the top officials and “callous approach” of the provincial government.
“The employees have not been paid salaries since October 2021,” said a senior officer wishing not to be named. “The matter was taken up by the officers with the management but for no avail. The workers are often told that the chief minister has approved a special grant for payment of the salaries, pension and all dues but we haven’t seen any practical move for more than three months. We are entering the fourth month without the salaries.”
Despite promises, Sindh govt hasn’t released grant for payment
The current financial situation emerged at a time when the PPP government was under radar of the opposition parties for the recently passed Sindh Local Government (Amendment) Act 2021 for empowering the provincial administration against the local government system and its representatives.
The opposition parties accused the PPP government of deliberately bringing the “black law” before the LG elections to keep control on major areas of city development and administration in case it fails to win polls and set up its local government in major urban centres of the province.
The KDA, founded in 1957, was once a powerful entity responsible for the land development across the city and in 2001, it was wrapped up and its 19 departments were merged with the the city district government Karachi during the rule of former military dictator General Pervez Musharraf. With the KDA (Revival & Amendment) Bill of 2016, the PPP government amended the KDA Ordinance and placed it under the minister for local government, bringing it out from the mayor of Karachi’s control.
Another official said that the KDA Officers’ Association recently took up the issues of non-payment of the salaries and pensions to retired employees with the administration and senior officials of the government, but it again ended only with promises.
“There are a total of 2,100 KDA workers under pay scale of 1 to 15,” he said. “Similarly, there are 2,190 retired employees who are paid pensions. One can imagine the lives of hundreds of thousands members of these workers’ families amid this growing inflation and tough economic conditions. It’s time for the authorities to move before it’s too late,” he said.
Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2022